Media Campaigns as a Main Channel in War and Peace
The presentation explores the conflict of national security and media coverage and discusses the consequent changes in Israeli society and local media. The main argument is that the global media, which do not take into consideration local limitations, have exposed local societies to international coverage means. They caused the reconsideration of central basic values that constitute and shape their nature, and especially change the approach regarding security matters. The growing significance of new technologies established the importance of information and communications in society, mainly in Israel, which is a Western society with an established and relatively free press (in all areas but national security). Global coverage has turned the focus to local issues, and the constant coverage of Israeli affairs means that without a well-organized media campaign the military and diplomatic campaigns could not succeed. While the limits of public discourse are being determined by local media, the televised coverage of security issues emphasizes images that change their perspectives to a global outlook. Accordingly, Israel's policy-making can be no different than other Western countries in terms of media campaigns too. Media management has become an important channel in modern wars and military operations, starting with the first and second Gulf War and followed by military operations of the Israeli army. Organized campaigns have been launched in other events, such as peace talks and the disengagement from Gaza, in August 2005. The role of the media was similarly important in the Second Lebanon War a few weeks ago. Organized campaigns have obvious advantages to the government, since the media is supportive of the official policy and encourages political stability by criticizing terrorism, violence or any anti-government actions. The ability of the government to manage the media campaign is obviously superior to that of individuals, terror organizations and even organized interest group, which lack practical and financial abilities and means neither to counter the organized campaign nor to provide intense information as the government.